Monday, March 7, 2011


Originally posted 12/28/10

Helllooooo long lost friends!  I’ve missed you!  How was Christmas?  Ours was nice.  We spent it in California, and basically shoved as much as we could into 4 days.  The kids had a great time and loved what they got.  I, on the other hand, had forgotten that Barbie toys require you to put every sticker on yourself.  They toys come as a plastic shell waiting to be decorated with hundreds of little stickers.  I don’t think I got even 10% of the stickers on straight.  And Addy had a very Barbie Christmas, so I spent a big chunk of time applying stickers…..I spent the rest of the time trying to figure out why I am so bad at any and all Wii games….
Anyway, I am back now and ready to post!  New Year’s Eve is coming up quick.  Do you have plans?  I know that your plans must involve party snacks!  I won’t get into my love of all things related to finger foods this post, you all know that by now.  I will get straight to the snacks….

One thing I was reminded of this Christmas was my love of French Onion dip.  Yep, the stuff from a mix.  I could easily power down a whole bowl of it, and I think I did.  Sorry Stacey….Did you want other people to eat that too?;)  I thought that since I love the packaged stuff so much, I ought to be able to step up my game and create a homemade version.  Aaaaannnnd, I did.  I LOVE this version that I am about to show you.  It is easy to make, and it is much more of a show stopper then the packages stuff. 
I use 2 onions, mayonnaise, sour cream, rosemary, salt and pepper.  I slice my own onions, but you can use the pre-chopped kind.  You can use low-fat versions of mayo and sour cream, but for the love of Pete….don’t use non-fat.  It doesn’t taste right.  Besides, it is New Year’s Eve….live a little;)  You can also replace the rosemary with fresh sage or thyme.  I use rosemary because it is my favorite.
I start by slicing the onions and throwing them in a sauté pan with a little bit of olive oil.  You can use any oil you have, or even butter.  I salt and pepper the onions and cook them low and slow.  Seriously, I cook them for like 45 minutes.  I don’t want to brown them; I want to caramelize them so that they cook down and get super sweet.  Cooking them slowly, over low heat, brings out the onions natural sugars.  Believe it baby, these things are sweet.
While the onions are doing their thing, I mix together equal parts of sour cream and mayonnaise.  I could eat it like that.  And that my friends, is why I should be using the low-fat versions….

When the onions are caramelized, I pop them in the fridge to cool off.  I chop enough rosemary that I have a scant tablespoon.  Too much rosemary and your food will taste like you threw a pine tree car air freshener in it;)  If you are unfamiliar with fresh rosemary….you only use the leaves.  Discard the woody stems. 
Once the onions have sufficiently cooled, I mix the sour cream/mayo mixture, onions and chopped rosemary together.  It needs to chill in the fridge for about one hour before you serve it.  This helps the flavors meld together, and lets the rosemary soften a bit.
I serve this with potato chips, but you could take the healthy route and serve it with crudités as well.  “Crudités” is a fancy word for raw veggies….
I guarantee you that people will ask you for the recipe for this.  You never have to tell them how easy it really is.  Unless they read this, and then your cover is blown.

My next party snack is chicken wings!  Chicken wings are such a party food.  Have you ever sat down to a normal dinner and eaten chicken wings?  No!  Total party food.  These will go quick!  Especially if I am at your party…..I am now excepting invites;)
I start with 3 pounds of “party wings”.  My grocery store sells them in a bag, frozen.  They are bone-in (obviously) and skin-on.  I let mine defrost in the fridge, overnight.
I also use Gourmet Rooster Carolina Style BBQ Sauce, Worcestershire Sauce and fresh rosemary (yep, again).  I actually got this idea from my good friend Karin.  She bought some sauce and told me she was going to make wings.  I, of course, immediately stole her idea because she is a great cook, and I trust her instincts.  I also took tons of fresh rosemary from her garden, which I left in my mom’s fridge in California.  Hence, the store-bought stuff pictured above.
I pour about 8 ounces of the BBQ Sauce into a large food storage bag, the kind with a zipper on top.  I also squirt in a couple of tablespoons of Worcestershire.  I don’t pepper these because the sauce has quite a bit of pepper in it.  You can salt them, if you really need too.  I marinate the wings, in the fridge, for a few hours.
After the wings have marinated in their mustard bath, I place them on a greased cookie sheet.  I cover my sheet in foil and then spray it with cooking spray.  This cuts down on the messy clean-up.  I bake the wings at 375 degrees for 25 minutes.  Then, I take the wings out and sprinkle them with chopped rosemary.  I put the wings back in the oven for an additional 10 minutes.  I like to keep some of the fresh rosemary taste, so I don’t cook them with the rosemary for longer then 10 minutes.  They will come out of the oven brown and crispy.
I serve mine with the other 8 ounces of sauce.  DON’T use the sauce you marinated them in!!!  This has raw chicken juices, and nobody wants to ring in the New Year with salmonella.
See how brown and pretty they are?  They are tangy with just a bit of spice…..everyone will love them, even the kids.  Well, if your kids like mustard that is…..
And yes, I do realize that most of you don’t have the Carolina Style sauce on hand.  You can replicate the flavor with mustard, soy sauce, vinegar and pepper.  It won’t be the same, but it will be close;)

I hope that you all try these for your New Year’s Eve!  Snacks and champagne is a fantastic way to get rid of 2010 and ring in 2011!  I will be back on Thursday with a great soup recipe that will bring prosperity and wealth…..if eaten on New Year’s Day;)

Caramelized Onion Dip
2 onions, sliced
1 cup sour cream
1 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste

Sauté sliced onions, in oil, on low heat for about 45 minutes, until onions are caramelized.  Chill cooked onions in refrigerator for a few minutes.
Mix together sour cream and mayonnaise.  Stir in chilled onions and chopped rosemary.  Mix well and chill for one hour. 

Carolina Style” Party Wings
3 pounds “party wings”, defrosted
16 ounce jar Carolina Style BBQ Sauce
2 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary

Marinate wings for 3 hours in 8 ounces BBQ sauce and Worcestershire (in a zippered storage bag).  Place wings on a greased cookie sheet.  Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes.  Sprinkle with chopped rosemary and bake for additional 10 minutes.
Serve with extra 8 ounces BBQ sauce.


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